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Getting Discouraged with my MJ (radiator issues)


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Man. Yall know I've been fighting issues with my MJ for a while. Ya'll ever get so discouraged and borderline fed up with it and start toying with the idea of selling it? Have any of you been down this road before and know if it's a good idea or regrettable one? Because that's where I'm currently at. Discouraged and pondering the idea of "the little red wagon" getting a new home

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I know the feeling. I purchased my longbed in april of 22 and I have driven it all of about 3 miles since. I put about 4 months straight of work into it and it's still not ready for prime time. I did:

  • grounds
  • 1/2 of cruiser54 tips
  • welded in new floor
  • new vinyl floor and liner
  • brake booster + master upgrade
  • new brake lines
  • new front brake calipers and rear drum cylinders
  • new distributor, adjusted the rotor
  • cleaned all the plugs and checked gaps
  • removed, cleaned and filed valve cover
  • cleaned top of head
  • cleaned out throttle body and sensor
  • replaced vacuum lines
  • replaced and siliconed firewall plugs
  • new rims and tires
  • flushed coolant
  • new water pump
  • new antenna install
  • new coolant tank
  • full gauge cluster mod
  • new belt tensioner pulley
  • horn replacement
  • ignition coil cleaning
  • oil change
  • o2 sensor replacement
  • parking brake cable replacement
  • cylinder compression test
  • new thermostat
  • wilwood prop valve install
  • cleaned up the light sockets all around
  • swapped brake pedal and brake light harness
  • seat bracket welding
  • fuel filter

I'm sure I missed a bunch. My comanche needs a new exhaust manifold to pass inspection and I'm really dreading that upcoming job. It's also in the 10s-20s most afternoons so I really am pushing it off until spring.

Sometimes it helps to take some time and revisit the problem later. That's what I do. I search around on comancheclub for folks wiser than I, and their repair methods and techniques.

My current to-to list:

  • Exhaust manifold
  • fix gauge cluster PRUNDL indicator
  • entire front suspension. everything.
  • entire rear suspension. everything.
  • differential inspection, fluid change
  • install rear spare tire
  • radio + speakers
  • new door seals. Using adhesive foam as a temp fix.
  • complete vehicle paint. paint flaking and peeling everywhere
  • pray to the jeep gods and try to find an affordable original LWB Rollbar

 

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Project fatigue sucks. Only way I've figured out a way to stave it off it is having a car that I don't have/want to work on that I need to depend on, just a simple driver. That way I can chip away on the project in spare time. If you got a long list of "to do's" get's to be tough because you just want to enjoy it. Only project I've regretted selling was my old K5, needed some little things but had so much done and I didn't drive it much. Decided to sell it to help buy a house still kick myself. I will say the feeling of accomplishing and enjoying a project is an awesome feeling.   

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Yeah well my Monte Carlo is in the shop for a whole cooling overhaul. The truck runs good. It runs so so good. My discouragement is my radiator as you may have seen/know. I have now sprung yet another leak in the radiator I have. I have a brand new one sitting at the house but waiting to get my car done first. So now as we speak I'm driving my truck with it leaking even more. I'm nearing the point of posting it up for sale along with all the goodies that comes with it like spare parts, documentation of purchase, part receipts and service records since I've had it and has no rust. I've dumped over $800 in radiators alone. I'm just trying to figure out my situation and have a truck that doesn't leak. All my truck needs is a non leaky rad and new exhaust. That is all it needs. I'm going to try the one I have now when I have it installed. It's such a good truck but it is just causing me stress and making me not want to work on it with how many times my radiator has went bad

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1 hour ago, Classy Comanche said:

Man. Yall know I've been fighting issues with my MJ for a while. Ya'll ever get so discouraged and borderline fed up with it and start toying with the idea of selling it? Have any of you been down this road before and know if it's a good idea or regrettable one? Because that's where I'm currently at. Discouraged and pondering the idea of "the little red wagon" getting a new home

Walk away from it when you get like that. Everyone needs a break from time to time. Many are that way with everything in general after the blows from the past years and nonstop punches currently. Take a break and focus on something that brings you joy and remember what you have to be thankful for. 

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True. Very true. It just seems as soon as I fix a problem another rears it's ugly head. Yea it does have major sentimental value to me but....it's just getting to the point to where it feels like your losing a uphill battle. But I'll try out a handful of stuff to try and get it straightened out for the long run. So for now I'll have the radiator put I'm. Park it and rarely drive it. My Chevy has a 3.8 and it's been a fantastic car. So in the meantime I'll push aside the selling thought. I'm thankful for it and thankful I was able to get my hands on it. Thankful I'm here too. Hopefully this radiator I'm going to have put in is the charm I need

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2 hours ago, Classy Comanche said:

Man. Yall know I've been fighting issues with my MJ for a while. Ya'll ever get so discouraged and borderline fed up with it and start toying with the idea of selling it? Have any of you been down this road before and know if it's a good idea or regrettable one? Because that's where I'm currently at. Discouraged and pondering the idea of "the little red wagon" getting a new home


You’ll never get a truck like the one you have now ever again, it’ll always either need more work, not be what you want, or be even more money.

 

I have buddies that sold their cars and trucks that they liked over an issue they kept having, and then they regret it and always say how they wish the never did. 
 

Just take a break before you make a decision you’ll regret, and if you decide to, then just make sure it’s the right decision.

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Seems your radiator is your biggest problem. Radiator shouldn’t be a big problem to overcome.

 

What kind of radiator do you have?

Was it new or rebuilt.

I have had good luck with Spectre radiators from the parts store. It’s chinese so not ideal but l never had trouble with the ones I’ve had.

2 maybe 3

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1 hour ago, Smokeyyank said:
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Project fatigue sucks. 

 

Thats a good term I've been dealing with myself, but not with my Jeep. My 70 Torino GT restomod is SO close to being done but I'm totally burned out on it; havent touched it in at least a year. The Jeep is my alternate project to keep me distracted and having something else to do. 

I also had the same lack of motivation last fall with trail running. I completely lost interest in running for a several months and completely stopped, then suddenly poof I find myself signing up for races and now I'm back it. No idea what that was about, other than taking a break.

 

1 hour ago, Smokeyyank said:

 

 

 

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I’ve also never had issues with Spectre radiators. 
But one way to avoid the burnout is to do your own work. If you have to pay someone else every time something goes wrong, it’s just an extra gut punch you don’t need. Especially something as simple as a radiator. When I did mine on my first MJ, back when I was still sorta guessing at what  I was doing, it was so easy that I spent a few years wondering what I could possibly have screwed up, because it just seemed to go together too well. But it’s been ten years and still nothing’s gone wrong with that rad install. It’s just bolts and a few hoses. And given yours has been out a couple times recently, you won’t even be fighting with old stuck on hoses or seized fasteners.

Yeah there’s a learning curve. Yeah it’s nerve wracking when you’re not confident in your abilities and you don’t want to screw up your baby, but take your time, make sure you’re not rushing things, if you’re unsure about anything stop and ask questions, and honestly Google is your friend. Even as a professional I Google things all the time. No shame. Pick a weekend. Invite a friend over, doesn’t even need to be someone super mechanically inclined, just someone who’s there for moral support. And just do it. Start small and eventually you’ll be rebuilding engines with the best of them.

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17 minutes ago, gogmorgo said:

But one way to avoid the burnout is to do your own work. If you have to pay someone else every time something goes wrong, it’s just an extra gut punch you don’t need. 

100% agree. Even if it's the simplest things. I can't imagine paying someone to swap out a radiator. I spent yesterday putting the trailer hitch on my MJ all by myself, and it was nice to be outside wrenching, if it took me longer because I was by myself.

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 I had JP mag and Hanes manual from AutoZone with little wrenching experience when I bought my first Renix XJ. I didn't use the web until about the time I became a member here. Hanes manuals sucked back then. A Chiltons manual was a big step up for me about 15 years ago. Equipment failure and lack of funds made me learn how to wrench quickly in my twenties after buying a home. Frustrated with horrible conflicting information, bad advice, and being poor in the same exact situation as you with a never ending closed Renix coolant system, is exactly how I took the initiative to learn. Of anything xj/mj renix mechanical, I can say I could completely redo a coolant system in my sleep. I would prefer the closed system any day of the week because I've had several of both type, put hundreds of thousands of miles on either over the past twenty years, and experienced the advantages and disadvantages of both.

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Alright so the radiator I got off rockauto is the all silver one. The black one I have got from napa and have now waiting to be installed. Now the all aluminum one I have bought 2 of. Both failed. This is why I'm so frustrated. I also have no tools. That may be a shock but I legitimately don't. But the aluminum ones are the ones leaking on me. Those are the only ones I've tried granted. See since my plastic reservoir cracked and split on me 3 times in a row on different ones I am so skeptical of plastic hence my logic of buying all aluminum. Do you guys run the ones like I got from Napa? I do know if I sell the truck I will never ever in my lifetime find another or get it back. I'm just stuck right now

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12 minutes ago, Classy Comanche said:

Alright so the radiator I got off rockauto is the all silver one. The black one I have got from napa and have now waiting to be installed. Now the all aluminum one I have bought 2 of. Both failed. This is why I'm so frustrated. I also have no tools. That may be a shock but I legitimately don't. But the aluminum ones are the ones leaking on me. Those are the only ones I've tried granted. See since my plastic reservoir cracked and split on me 3 times in a row on different ones I am so skeptical of plastic hence my logic of buying all aluminum. Do you guys run the ones like I got from Napa? I do know if I sell the truck I will never ever in my lifetime find another or get it back. I'm just stuck right now

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You can buy a lot of tools, everything required for coolant system rework, and pocket $ most likely after paying a mechanic for the job. Especially if it's a dealership. Get familiar with Harbour Freight, you don't need much at all tool wise. A $30 Chilton manual new (find one cheap used) will tell you what tools and specs to torque them. The biggest part of owning a Jeep is becoming smarter, more resourceful, and thrifty. Also my guess is everything keeps "cracking" because your mechanic doesn't know how to bleed the closed coolant system properly of air. It's creating a hydraulic lock/boil over situation. You can easily toast a brand new water pump, reservoir (really not a reservoir but a coolant pressure bottle with relief cap), or even a plastic radiator depending on the situation and weather in the perfect storm. Usually the pressure tanks go and relief cap. Water pumps can fail instantly too depending on how much air is left in the head. Too little of coolant with a ton of air in head will make it almost sound like a small portable compressor the first time it runs up to operating temperature. I'd be finding an older mechanic that understands older closed coolant systems if you weren't willing to learn. Myself and several others here would help you through it though. It's why people are here. If you dig in the files here on the forum, everything you need resource wise is here most likely here already. That including step by step walk through with pics even if your don't want the attention by posting. 

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Well the thing of it is my truck is a open system. I have a Mac tank and catch tank he installed. I've had 0 issues from it. The guy that has been working on it is @dasbulliwagenand is a mechanic at the chevy dealership I go to. He works on it there. He's done lots of work to my truck but the radiator is the only thing giving me issues 

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If you don’t have any tools, I’d seriously start investing in at least a basic mechanics tool set. Should be able to handle a large amount of jobs on an MJ, including replacing the radiator.

 

Can’t speak to the quality of the radiators, odd that you’re getting so many issues (plastic tanks cracking, leaking from all aluminum).

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I'll look into some tools soon. What would be some possible causes of the radiator leaking on me? It's not coming from the hoses. It's coming from the radiator itself. Poor quality? Something else? Because my system is open meaning I think the pressure is able to exit via a tube on the top of the catch tank when it cools off (please correct me if I'm wrong). My engine isn't overheating and runs fine. I also can't just keep going through radiators like underwear either 

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28 minutes ago, Classy Comanche said:

Well the thing of it is my truck is a open system. I have a Mac tank and catch tank he installed. I've had 0 issues from it. The guy that has been working on it is @dasbulliwagenand is a mechanic at the chevy dealership I go to. He works on it there. He's done lots of work to my truck but the radiator is the only thing giving me issues 

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1 minute ago, acfortier said:

If you don’t have any tools, I’d seriously start investing in at least a basic mechanics tool set. Should be able to handle a large amount of jobs on an MJ, including replacing the radiator.

 

Can’t speak to the quality of the radiators, odd that you’re getting so many issues (plastic tanks cracking, leaking from all aluminum).

A picture is worth a thousand words. Your mechanic is mixing an expensive aftermarket pressure tank and universal overflow tank. You don't need both if it's done right open or closed system. Maybe he was trying for a quick temporary fix but 2 plus 2 isn't adding up to 4 here. Include more pics of coolant hose routing to heater core located under the silver pressure tank back to the front of engine. Also take pics of your radiator by your air box. It would be really helpful at this point to know if your running an open or closed radiator setup currently. You could be ordering the wrong parts mixing and matching years between open and closed systems. Your mechanic might be playing nice just trying to keep you driving making it work for now. 

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5 hours ago, Classy Comanche said:

Man. Yall know I've been fighting issues with my MJ for a while. Ya'll ever get so discouraged and borderline fed up with it and start toying with the idea of selling it? Have any of you been down this road before and know if it's a good idea or regrettable one? Because that's where I'm currently at. Discouraged and pondering the idea of "the little red wagon" getting a new home

I've felt this many times, I almost took a ball peen hammer to it out of frustration ( this was a long time ago, and I was much younger). I would recommend what others have said and take a break from working on it, the fatigue and frustration you are feeling is completely normal. 

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39 minutes ago, Classy Comanche said:

How's this? So the Mac tank holds my coolant. My coolant gets spit up into the plastic tank as a holder. And it has a clear hose at the top that can puke out coolant if for whatever reason it gets that full

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Does the radiator you have now have a fill  cap/neck by the air box? I'm under the assumption no since I don't see it in the picture. If that's the case, it's rigged up even though it's a closed system. It will never function properly this way. This needs moved to tech. What's happening is air is trapped in the system causing a boil over situation. You're constantly loosing coolant into that overflow bottle whenever it gets too hot. My guess is your plastic radiators have been cracking because it's the weakest link as this occurs. The tank cap on the OEM pressure tank is designed to release that pressure. If it's released, the system is leaking somewhere or there isn't enough coolant/air in the system. It will never flow properly, stay under proper temps year round, or work the way it was designed to. Yes there is potentially a bad head gasket but I doubt it. I've brought many of these back to life after being told that putting thousands of miles on them after guys have said that. I've explained how to do this many times in this forum in many places. Half the people laugh at me but it's funny how often this comes up over and over as the same people refuse to do it. Even funnier they think converting to open fixes it all but it just masks it more. Regardless h.o. 91 up or Renix 90 down need purged of air almost the same way. Open style is harder to spot the problem and easier to ignore it 

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Well the top of my engine is leaking oil. It does leak. So. Wait. Hang on. So where do I get another tank like the oem one? I have mine but it's cracked from being old and usage. Rockauto ones are absolute crap. I now am so clueless and I just...I don't know what to do now. Now I'm nervous to drive it

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  • Pete M changed the title to Getting Discouraged with my MJ (radiator issues)

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